Taiah has drawn others to her since she was very little.  It may be partly because she is the baby of the family, but it is definitely a gift from God.  She has a special Spirit in her and has one of those “old thoughtful souls” that touches you when you spend time with her.  As my older daughter, Teressa, says she makes you feel good just by being around her.  We adore Taiah in this family. She brings laughter, beauty, fun,creativity, and vulnerability to us.  She has taught us how to be more compassionate and sympathetic to others in our family and outside.

At eight years of age she was diagnosed with Rheumatic Fever that ravage her tiny little body with an arthritic form.  It took months to get a diagnosis. She lost ability to walk on her own for more than a few steps.  Her dad and I choked back tears purchasing a cane to help her walk. Stairs were a huge challenge for her weakened muscles.  Teressa 11 years old at that time would take the initiative and carry her from room to room or up the stairs to watch TV.  Taiah spent a lot of time in bed reading and drawing.  A sketch pad became a constant companion just like Montay.  We would love to see what she was drawing and it was a source of joy for all of us.  With God’s help Taiah gained movement back and with lots of therapy her muscles regained strength.

As she drew pictures, people would stop and talk to her and if you admired her work she was known to tear it from her book and gift it to you.  Grandma Dennis always made sure she had plenty of drawing pads and pencils.  On a flight back from visiting grandparents Taiah drew a beautiful picture of a bird for the flight attendant.  The woman was so surprised and truly felt honored to receive.  Taiah made her day and didn’t really even know it.  When her Dad was sick she drew some of her last pictures before grief set in.  One was of her and him holding hands.  The other was a crane because Ted had sent her a post card with one on it.  Taiah had a hard time drawing when Ted got sick and stopped.  I think we all shut down in different ways and similar.

I have been reading my prayer letters when Ted was first hospitalized and I am struck by the personal presence of God.  I am seeing how thankful our hearts were and moving forward and outward.  I think with Ted’s death so much just became still and quiet like a pause button was pushed in our lives. I am beginning to feel and see that  2 1/2 years later the play button has been pushed again.  One of the best things for a mother is seeing her children thrive!

Taiah is drawing more regularly.  This summer she drew lungs like a flower pot with flowers coming out.  It was wonderful like she is breathing again!  She found her contagious smile in Turkey and hasn’t stopped smiling.  I knew she was suppose to go to Turkey just had no idea it was about finding her smile.  God does have humor and still surprises me! She began taking drawing classes this fall and the penciled drawing of the girl above was her second project.

I thought about blogging because of this charcoal ash drawing Taiah completed. DSC_0840 She used a tray of loose charcoal ash, a paper towel, and a solid piece of charcoal to create this drawing of fruit.  She said how difficult with the ash and just control and to create from the ash-Ugh! She made me think of Scripture and how God promises to take our ashes and make something beautiful.  Isaiah 61-the whole chapter is great, but here are the verses I was thinking upon: “To comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion–to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

I am so visual and love that it took Taiah’s literal charcoal ash drawing for me to partly see what God is up to. I am grateful for His healing and allowing me to witness the ashes to beauty in the girls.

I hope that if you are found in a place of despair or pain that you will seek the One who can heal and help you.  He will restore and make All Things New! We think upon Romans 8:28 all the time–“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”


DSC_0823I love the look of Country French Furniture because it expresses a subtle sophistication and a romantic aura with all the curves and bends.  French Country furniture commands attention and gains loving glances over and over again. It stirs a a feeling of something from the past and brings a sense of comfort home.  I discussed the antique mirror in my last blog you may enjoy going back to read it or get some suggestions on how to secure a old wooden frame.  The console table caught my attention because of its country French style with curvy legs, body curves, and how the bottom joins together in a big statement! IMG_0715 I believe the table is late 1980’s or 90’s.  It was one that needed new life and finishing the mirror frame just brought the two pieces together like they were waiting to be paired.

I decided on using Annie Sloan’s French Linen Chalk Paint as the console table had a smoky tinted glass top. The beveled glass top is tinted a faint smoky brown and I knew with the color of paint and using dark wax to age the piece that it would all come together nicely.  I did hand paint primer on the table first.  I let dry for 24 hours and then painted using my Annie Sloan oval paint brush for the first time.  I loved it!  I’m still attached to Purdy though. 🙂  I did two coats of chalk paint.  IMG_0734I let the paint dry 24 hours and began to lightly distress the table till I got the look I was aiming for.  I then wiped down really well and let dry.  I clear waxed the whole piece two times and then using the dark wax I rubbed on and off till I got that nice aged patina look.

I love picture frames and so wanted to include a couple that were ornate but more simple to go with the total look.  I hand painted the frames the same way as I did the furniture pieces.  I purchased black cardboard easel backings so that the frames could rest on the table. This Furniture Grouping is for sale.  Please contact me or my Etsy shop.  I will custom paint your furniture pieces that need an up-do if you are live in my area.  Thanks so Much!DSC_0826DSC_0830DSC_0831

DSC_0823This Fabulous French Country Furniture Grouping is an Up-do with a mix of the past and 1980’s.  I search for furniture pieces that speak to me to paint.  I found the mirror before the table and from what I can gather it was attached at one time to a dresser and probably had a little swing action. IMG_0697 I loved that it had its original beveled glass mirror.  It has the age spots to verify and the IMG_0700weight.  One part of the frame had been glued quickly so I knew upon purchasing I would need to be re-working the frame and making sure it was securely and aesthetically pleasing.  I was up for the challenge because I loved the carved design on top of the mirror! Upon opening the back of the mirror I saw that the previous person had glued the mirror in which is a no-no.  It was time consuming as I worked on pulling the glued away from the wooden frame and carefully from the back of the glass mirror. I then lightly sanded frame.  I removed old glue from crack on the front of the frame and re-glued the frame.IMG_0705 IMG_0724I took a soft cloth and wrapped it on corner as I lightly hammered the frame back into proper position. After the wood glue dried, I took wood filler and in each section of the frame filled in on both back and front of frame where needed.  I used my handy clamps and was off to another project while the frame set and dried.IMG_0719IMG_0720

Now that the antique wooden frame was all solid and put back together it was time to paint.  I originally thought I would hand paint the frame white and distress for a bedroom mirror.  My mirror got intersected so to speak with a French Console Table that I purchased right around the time the mirror frame was ready for paint. IMG_0729 I place the two by each other and felt a match was made.  I rather enjoy when that happens as I like to decorate and place things in a beautiful orderly way!  I decided to use Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in French Linen color.  You do not need to prime your furniture pieces before you use chalk paint, but I almost always do.  I hand painted primer on both the mirror frame and the console table.  Read my next blog for continuation of my Country French Furniture Grouping!  I do custom painting on picture frames and can ship in the U.S.A.  I can quote you on painting furniture pieces you already own if you live in my area.  Thanks!

DSC_0815Beautiful Farm Style Wooden Painted and Distressed Picture Frames are For Sale on Etsy at my Abundant Trove Shop.  I have always had an appreciation for great craftsmanship and style.  Several of these vintage wooden picture frames were purchased at yard sales in the country.  We were at a typical chippy white paint farm house on an early Friday morning.  We enjoy talking to people almost as much as searching for items to buy.  People have stories to tell and I think many like to know a little about who is buying the belongings they are parting with.  The dusty, wooden frames looked like they were just pulled from storage as an after thought and were scattered on a beat up table with no price.  I immediately loved the quality and charm of these wooden beauties that just needed some TLC to come back to life! After selecting our items carefully and talking a bit we were given an agreeable price and were on our way to the next sale.DSC_0813

Gathering these frames brought joy to me and I felt delight in the whole Up-Do process.  I love the look and feel of quality wood and paint just seems to go on so much better and even waxing is a pleasure.  I really enjoy Annie Sloan Chalk Paints so used French Linen on this frame set.  I did prime the frame with a paint brush as the frames were older and I didn’t want any odors or stains to come through.  Also, the paint really adheres to primer wonderfully.  I did hand distress and wax each frame for a cottage chic/farm style look and durability.

DSC_0814These pretty hand distressed frames would make a great addition to a family room or bedroom.  You can stack against a wall on a shelf. I always show a photo lay out of my idea as I chose the frame sets. DSC_0812 I normally chose odd numbers, but six was right for this grouping.  They are for sale for $79.00 plus shipping on my Etsy shop or you can contact me as well.  I do custom painting and you can order a set of frames from me contact me with your details and I can quote you.  Thank You!!!

DSC_0813 The joy of finding items that you can Up-Do into another useful form!  I found a 1980’s red wooden calendar holder and shelf at a garage sale. It had three wooden pegs coming out of bottom for hooks. My mind immediately saw a chalkboard (the in-thing) with better hooks and of course freshly painted and with some more details-hmmm…   I like how my mind buzzes with activity when I get a new project.

I should have taken a photo of original calendar board so you could see the transformation. The design of the calendar board was practical and good so I just made some changes to take it to now.  DSC_0812First, I took the wood pegs off and drilled holes through the wood where the pegs had been glued as I was going to put cabinet hardware knobs on.  I went to a local hobby craft store and found just the knobs I wanted.  I searched through my odd-n-end box and found the beautiful decorative ornate metal piece. DSC_0815 This would go on to add charm and uniqueness to this chalkboard shelf organizer.  I cleaned the wood down and painted with Annie Sloan French Linen Chalk Paint.  I did not use a primer as I didn’t mind if some of the red peeked through.  While paint was drying I went to a local hardware store where the guys cut chalkboard for me to fit my projects.  The next day I lightly distressed the board and washed down and clear waxed to make the paint stick and piece durable.  I glued the chalkboard in and secured my scroll metal design with tiny nails and placed my new cabinet knobs on. I love that the organizer had a pen holder to write on the calendar now it can hold chalk to write on the chalk board. I am thrilled with the outcome of this project. It turned out functional and with the casual elegance style I strive for!

You can purchase this hand painted distressed chalkboard on at my store (Abundant Trove) or contact me.  This chalkboard organizer would be great in your mudroom to keep reminders handy and timely. You can loop your keys on the knobs.  We all use lanyards here so that would work nicely. It would also be good in a kitchen or office.DSC_0821

I do custom paint frames and will quote you on painting your furniture if you live in my area. Check out my shop for vintage and hand beaded jewelry designs.  Thanks!